BOSTON (CBS) – According to the coach of the Vancouver Canucks, Aaron Rome, the player who ended the season of Bruin Nathan Horton Monday night with one of the dirtiest blind-side hits in NHL history, was too emotional yesterday to discuss his suspension with the press.
Instead, he issued a carefully-worded statement expressing concern for the health of the player whose health he destroyed and claiming: “I try to play this game honestly and with integrity. As someone who has experienced this type of injury, I am well aware of its serious nature and have no desire for another player to experience it.”
Notice what Rome doesn’t say – that he didn’t do anything wrong.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
That absurd claim was left to his coach, who called Horton’s near-manslaughter a “very unfortunate hit that turned bad…. It was a north-south play. It was a bit late. But anybody that’s played this game knows that you have to make a decision in a fraction of a second.”
A pack of lies like that has trouble standing up when the evidence to the contrary is right out in the open for all to see.
I have watched the video dozens of times, in regular and slow-motion, and it is quite obvious that Rome had Horton lined up for a crushing hit, had plenty of time to pull the punch, but instead left the ice to hurl himself, elbow high, into Horton’s head. It was a dirty hit by a player who is no stranger to the penalty box.
Among Canucks who played 60 games or less during the regular season, Rome was the leader in penalty minutes.
In the postseason, he was an impressive third on the team in penalty minutes, despite playing in seven fewer games than the first-and-second-place finishers.
The hit was a dumb, vicious play by a borderline player on a chippy team that led the league in minor penalties this year.
I don’t expect them to abandon their teammate. But spare us the lies and spin about a filthy cheap shot we all could see for ourselves.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.